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5. The Importance of a Strong Immune System

R.Ph., Ph.D, Earl L.. Mindell Basic Health Publications, Inc. ePub

S

upport of the immune system is one of the most important roles that proper nutrition plays in your dogs health. The immune system protects your dog from illness and supports the repair of her body when it is injured. Our environment is always teeming with microscopic organisms that have the potential to infect your dog with any number of minor to life-threatening diseases. How your dogs immune system responds to these organisms determines her health.

Have you noticed that when a cold or flu is going around, some people always get it and others never get sick? Those who stay well have an active, healthy immune system to protect them. Those who get sick from infectious diseases have an immune system that is in less than optimal condition.

The immune system is a complex network within the body that produces millions of cells each day. Each cells mission is to seek out and destroy foreign invaders called antigens. An antigen, which is short for antibody generating, is a foreign invader in the body, such as a bacteria, fungus, parasite, pollen, or virus. Elimination of antigens is accomplished primarily by white blood cells that use the lymphatic and blood vessels to move through the body. One drop of blood contains 5,000 to 10,000 white blood cells, and two-thirds of them are part of the immune system.

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Part 6. The Emotional Lives of Animals: The Ever-Expanding Circle of Sentience Includes Depressed Bees and Empathic Chickens

Marc Bekoff New World Library ePub

The Ever-Expanding Circle of Sentience Includes Depressed Bees and Empathic Chickens

ANIMALS HAVE rich and deep emotional lives. We’ve known this for a long time, and solid scientific research is supporting our intuitions. The different species of animals that fall into the emotional area, the circle of sentience, is constantly expanding, and we’re learning more and more about the incredible diversity of emotions they experience, ranging from joy and happiness to empathy and compassion to grief and despair. Emotions serve as social glue and are the reasons we’re so attracted to other animals. It’s also why they are drawn to us. Our own emotions are the gifts of our ancestors. How lucky we are to have inherited our own passionate lives from these awe-inspiring beings.

One surprising member of the expanding circle of sentience is the honeybee, who, it turns out, isn’t always a happy worker, collecting pollen and making honey with legendary industriousness. Bees can become just as depressed on the job as people. Bees also use their right antenna to tell friend from foe. Please read on.

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Part 2. Against Speciesism: Why All Individuals Are Unique and Special

Marc Bekoff New World Library ePub

Why All Individuals Are Unique and Special

ANIMALS COME IN ALL SHAPES AND SIZES. Biologists try to organize and make sense of this variety by classifying animals as members of different phyla, classes, orders, families, genera, species, and subspecies. In this way, scientists create our “family tree,” which shows how the various types of animals are related and where they diverge. Often scientists use words like “simple” and “complex,” or “higher” and “lower,” to characterize different species based on particular traits, such as the complexity of the nervous system or the size of the brain relative to the size of the body. Within biological classification systems, these words are useful. However, they are also often translated into qualitative judgments: “higher” becomes “better” or “more valuable”; “lower” becomes “lesser” or “easily discarded.” In the essays in this part, I argue that this usage is misleading, incorrect, and inappropriate. It is “speciesism,” which serves little purpose except to justify the killing or bad treatment of certain classes of animals that humans find either useful or inconvenient. We should not use species membership to make decisions about how an animal can be treated, or more pointedly, what level of mistreatment is permissible. Rather, we should approach each animal as an individual with unique characteristics and an inherent value equal to all other beings. Individual animals do what they need to do to be card-carrying members of their respective species. Within their species, this has the most value, and no individual is “better” or “more valuable” than the rest. Just as all species count, all individuals count, and all beings are unique and special in their own ways.

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Part 10. Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why: Redecorating Nature, Peaceful Coexistence, and Compassionate Conservation

Marc Bekoff New World Library ePub

Redecorating Nature, Peaceful Coexistence, and Compassionate Conservation

WHILE I WAS ATTENDING A MEETING in Oxford, England, in September 2010 about the growing field called “compassionate conservation,” I came to realize that the basic question with which many of my colleagues and I are concerned is “Who lives, who dies, and why?” As humans, we can do just about anything we choose to do, and along with this incredible power comes incredible responsibilities to do the best we can for other animals and their homes. Power does not mean license to do whatever we like because it suits us just fine. I live in the mountains outside of Boulder, Colorado, and I am fortunate to have many nonhuman neighbors, including cougars, black bears, red foxes, coyotes, and a wide variety of small mammals, birds, lizards, insects, and snakes. I choose to live where I do, and I must do all I can to coexist in peace and harmony with these wonderful animals. As you’ll read below, I’ve had some close and dangerous encounters of the lion kind and have had to change my ways so that my nonhuman neighbors and I can all live together. If I choose to, I can move, but my animal friends can’t just pick up and move because their living rooms aren’t mobile.

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Part 11. Rewilding Our Hearts: The Importance of Kindness, Empathy, and Compassion for All Beings

Marc Bekoff New World Library ePub

The Importance of Kindness, Empathy, and Compassion for All Beings

HERE IS THE BIG QUESTION: What can we do to make the world a better place for all beings, human and nonhuman, and to protect their homes? There are no easy answers. We need to move out of our comfort zones and think and act outside of the box because what we’ve been doing in the past hasn’t worked very well. We really are decimating our planet at an unprecedented rate, and we need to stop doing this now. We’ve ignored nature for far too long a time, and we can’t continue living as if what we do doesn’t really matter, as if we don’t need to make changes right now to stop plundering Earth. What we do really does matter in all arenas. Humans are very accomplished denialists. I often think we should be called Homo denialus rather than Homo sapiens.

I travel a lot, and I meet many wonderful people who are working tirelessly and selflessly for other animals, humans, and the planet as a whole. I’m an unflinching, card-carrying optimist, and that’s because I know there are many others doing all they can do. This keeps my hopes and dreams alive. Many people lose faith and burn out because the work is tedious and can be rather depressing. I always say to avoid burnout one should work hard, play hard, rest hard, and be able to step back and laugh at oneself when need be. Also, avoid being sidetracked by people who just want to waste your time as you work to make the world a better, safer, and more peaceful and compassionate place for all beings.

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Part 1. Animals and Us: Reflections on Our Challenging, Frustrating, Confusing, and Deep Interrelationships with Other Animals

Marc Bekoff New World Library ePub

Reflections on Our Challenging, Frustrating, Confusing, and Deep Interrelationships with Other Animals

FROM TIME TO TIME, people ask me and the editors at Psychology Today why I write for them. I was astounded when these queries first came in, but I came to realize that it’s often not clear how the lives and emotions of animals relate to human psychology. In fact, our interactions with animals tell us a good deal about how we perceive ourselves, we who are also animals. Our interactions with animals run deep, and in very direct and pragmatic ways, these interactions affect both ourselves and the animals involved. Simply put, when we harm other animals, we hurt ourselves, and when we protect and nurture other animals, we heal ourselves. Whether we deny or recognize animal emotions and intelligence, this has real-world consequences for everyone. This is why I prefer using the word “interrelationships” rather than “relationships,” and why I prefer phrases like “other animals” and “nonhuman animals” rather than “animals,” as if humans were somehow separate from or not animals. In these ways I try to emphasize that all animal species share a continuum of being, which includes the way we feel and what we think.

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4: Trade in Meat

Phillips, C.J.C. CABI PDF

Trade in Meat

4

4.1  Introduction

Humans are not anatomically or physiologically designed to eat raw meat. The absence of elongated canine teeth makes tearing through raw meat difficult and the relatively high pH in our stomachs renders us susceptible to food poisoning if the flesh is at all contaminated. For our ancestors the infrequency of successful hunts would have made contamination of stored meat likely. However, their ability to master fire provided a method of processing meat to make it more easily consumed and less likely to be contaminated. Hence for as long as prehistoric records are available, meat consumption has been a part of the human diet. Our ancestors’ advanced ability to communicate facilitated complex hunting methods, luring animals into traps for example. Cave paintings suggest that there were ritual gatherings before the hunt, perhaps even with music and hallucinogenic drugs, which bonded the males together to improve their performance in the hunt.

Hunting for meat provided an alternative to the long process of gathering nutrients from plant life, which varied with climate and season and often required a nomadic lifestyle to follow the geographic availability of suitable plants. The nutrient demands for hunting, gathering and nomadism were considerable, and meat was able to provide the highly digestible food needed. Nevertheless, the risks involved and uncertainty in finding food meant that life was short, typically 25–40 years. With the coming of agriculture, and the development of improved plants, principally cereals, with higher seed yields, a settled way of life became possible and it was no longer necessary to hunt animals for meat. However, in colder parts of the world, particularly the northern parts of the northern hemisphere, meat consumption remained necessary because it could provide the nutrients needed, and in these regions crop growth was limited. Over the last 1000 years people from these regions came to colonize most of the rest of the world and the colonizers took their meat-eating habits with them. For example, the British colonies covered one-third of the world at the beginning of the 20th century,

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10. Breed-Specific Health Problems

R.Ph., Ph.D, Earl L.. Mindell Basic Health Publications, Inc. ePub

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he process of adopting a dog starts with deciding whether you want a mixed-breed dog or a purebred dog. Mixed-breed dogs, also known as mutts, mongrels, and Heinz 57s, are just as the names implya mixture of breeds. Mixed-breed dogs have a significantly larger genetic background than purebred dogs, so they are not as prone to health problems as purebred dogs. Purebred dogs are man-made dogs whose genetic background is limited by the breed and the specific line within the breed that is created by the breeder. Purebreds can easily become inbred, which exaggerates both positive traits and weaknesses, for example a predisposition to illness.

Mixed-breed dogs, although generally healthier than purebred dogs, have high incidences of the most common health problems. If you have a mixed-breed dog and can connect her to a specific breed, or breeds, such as a German-shepherd mix or a Labrador-retriever and golden-retriever mix, familiarize yourself with the health problems for the breed(s) your dog is related to.

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1: The History of Animal Trade

Phillips, C.J.C. CABI PDF

The History of Animal Trade

1

1.1  Introduction

Our ancestors existed as hunter gatherers, and before that as anthropoid apes. The hunter gatherers had varied diets, which gave them security as a population against climatic extremes that favoured certain plant and animal types (Milton, 2000). The costs and risks of procuring meat and animal products were high and many were primarily gatherers. However, meat, once it was obtained, was a concentrated source of energy and protein, the most important nutrients that they required for survival. Not only did hunter gatherers in different parts of the world have quite varied diets, depending on availability, they were also free to migrate to utilize different fauna and flora sources, depending on the season and weather patterns.

Settled agriculture, adopted over a period of just a few thousand years beginning about 10,000 years ago, offered the opportunity for higher yields from plants and animals that were farmed in small areas. However, the static nature of this activity and the enhanced resource requirements of this form of food production, in the form of a regular water supply and a nutrient-rich soil, increased exposure to climatic and seasonal extremes. The inevitable variation in productivity could only be absorbed into a successful existence if humans cooperated with neighbouring groups, so that food surpluses in one region were transported to others where the need was greater. Thus our cognitive skills in organizing this trade, coupled with our highly social behaviour, combined to make plant and animal raising a viable alternative to hunter gathering when societies cooperated by trading in surplus goods.

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Part 8. The Lives of Captive Creatures: Why Are They Even There?

Marc Bekoff New World Library ePub

Why Are They Even There?

BILLIONS OF ANIMALS are kept in various captive situations, ranging from laboratories to zoos and aquariums, from circuses and rodeos to our own homes. We keep animals for a variety of reasons: in the name of science, in the name of entertainment, in the name of food (see part 9), or because they’re our companions. However, the lives of captive animals are often compromised. They may suffer from confinement, the lack of exercise, from being kept alone without friends, and from being mistreated (or deliberately “broken,” as happens in circuses, so they do what’s needed to entertain us). Here I’m primarily concerned with wild and domestic animals who are kept for purposes of entertaining humans. Today, there is increasing scrutiny of zoos and their purpose. Particularly in light of the uneven levels of animal care, the untimely deaths of zoo animals, and even the occasional death of their human caretakers, we must ask what zoos are really good for. I hope that this sample of essays shows that captive animals deserve much better treatment than they receive and that this should lead us to question why we hold them captive in the first place.

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6. A Flea-Free Household

R.Ph., Ph.D, Earl L.. Mindell Basic Health Publications, Inc. ePub

R

ight now, you probably feel less affection for the flea than you do the mosquito.You think of fleas as blood-sucking creatures that were put on this earth to torment you and your dog. A flea is a parasite, so in a way you are right. Parasites are organisms that survive on another organism without contributing anything. I felt tortured and tormented by fleas until one wonderful hot summer came and went without one flea bath, daily vacuuming, or trip to the vet.We had a flea-free summer. Not once did my dog look at me with those sad, please-help-me eyes, after biting and scratching for ten minutes.

My miracle cure was garlic. Knowing the great health benefits of garlic, I had recently started giving my dog garlic with every meal and found that it is a highly effective way to have a healthier, flea-free dog.

Fleas are tiny, brown, wingless insects that thrive on blood and can jump 100 times their height to get to the source of the blood. Pet owners collectively spend millions of dollars every year on an endless quest to rid their furry friends of this minuscule menace.These tiny insects not only cause endless aggravation, they can cause your dog to become seriously ill. Dogs that are allergic to flea saliva experience severe itching and welts from each flea bite.The allergic reaction is triggered by a chemical in the fleas saliva that prevents the dogs blood from clotting until the flea has finished its meal. If left untreated, the dog will chew her skin raw, creating open sores and the possibility of infection.The dogs skin isnt the only thing affected.The immune system becomes weaker and over-sensitized with every bite, leaving the dog vulnerable to additional chronic health problems. On the outside, the dog is biting and scratching, and on the inside the immune system is working overtime to fight the allergic reaction and heal the sores caused by the itching and biting.

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10: The Future of Animal Trade

Phillips, C.J.C. CABI PDF

The Future of Animal Trade

10

10.1  Introduction

The past has seen some dramatic changes in world trade in animals. This chapter considers what will shape the future of the animal trade and what changes in the trade are likely. Continuation of current trends does not seem to be an option. Worldwide meat and milk production have been growing, as outlined in

Chapters 4 and 5, respectively. Even taking into account increasing population, meat availability per capita has been increasing steadily over the last 50 years to approximately double what it was at the beginning of the 1960s; milk availability per capita has increased by about 20% over the last 10 years (Fig. 10.1). The increasing livestock production requires prodigious quantities of feed grain and there is still potential for meat consumption to increase in many developing regions of the world, e.g. sub-Saharan Africa. The steadily increasing trajectory for meat availability per capita has been consistent over the last 50 years (Fig. 10.1), and it will therefore take extreme measures if this is to be changed.

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Part 3. Media and the (Mis)representation of Animals

Marc Bekoff New World Library ePub

IN THIS PART’S FIVE ESSAYS, I look at the ways animals are represented, or more often misrepresented, in the media. While we don’t expect cartoon entertainments like The Lion King or Finding Nemo to represent real animals — and it’s alarming and upsetting when movies like The Grey (2011) demonize wild animals for profit — we do expect newspapers, magazines, documentaries, and other seemingly objective sources to tell us the truth. Unfortunately, with liberal license and often out of ignorance, the media is notorious for representing other animals in a false and misleading light. As they do with so many topics, the media sensationalizes extremes and reinforces untrue and even harmful stereotypes about animals. It’s essential that animals be represented correctly because what people read influences how they perceive and ultimately how they treat other animals. Among the reasons why I write essays for Psychology Today about the lives of other animals is to portray them the way they are, not as who we want or imagine them to be.

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2: Trade Policies for Animal Products

Phillips, C.J.C. CABI PDF

Trade Policies for Animal

Products

2

2.1  Development of Trade Policy

Trade is a natural activity for a species that is very social, highly communicative and mobile around the planet. Humans evolved as an opportunistic species, seeking out new environments to occupy. When the majority of the habitable areas of the planet had been colonized, several thousand years ago, humans naturally turned to trade to cement relations with people in occupied lands for mutual benefit. Through trade they could obtain goods that they could not produce or obtain at home, and in return they offered goods they were able to produce or could produce more easily, or economically, than those in the lands they visited.

Trade also developed relations between peoples of different cultures, allowing fringe benefits to be had through the cultural exchange that ensued. Inevitably, it required a degree of trust between the traders, concerning delayed payment for example, or the benign intent of visitors. In some cases trade was a smokescreen for an attempt to take over a region, and thus great caution was required on the part of the hosts for a visiting party.

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Part 4. Why Dogs Hump: Or, What We Can Learn from Our Special Friends

Marc Bekoff New World Library ePub

WE OFTEN HEAR that the companion animals with whom we share our lives have unqualified trust in us, that they believe we will always have their best interests in mind, and that they love us unconditionally and would do anything for us. And, indeed, they often do take care of us in a seemingly selfless manner.

But dogs and other animals don’t love everyone unconditionally. They can be very selective. From time to time it’s a good idea to revisit, if only briefly, some common beliefs we have about relationships between ourselves and other animals. I’ve been asked on many occasions about trust among animals, and this essay puts some of my thoughts on the table for discussion.

What does it mean to say our companions trust us? The notion of trust is difficult to discuss because it’s very broad and has many different sides. Trusting another is related to intention. What did a person (or other animal) intend to do, and were their actions in the best interest of another being? It’s possible to have the best of intentions and to do something that harms another being. This doesn’t mean that the individual who erred shouldn’t ever be trusted again.

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